Penn State Softball Struggles in Doubleheader; drops both games to Iowa
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The bats were hot for the Iowa Hawkeyes as they swept the Penn State Nittany Lions in a Sunday doubleheader at Beard Field. Iowa cruised to a 9-4 victory in the opener then took game two in a 4-3 nailbiter.
The first game featured a matchup between two of the best pitchers in the Big Ten. Bailey Parshall got the start for Penn State while Breanna Vasquez got the start for Iowa. Both pitchers entered the day with an ERA that was of the top three lowest in the Big Ten conference. Parshall showcased a 0.98 ERA and Vasquez with a 1.42 ERA.
Perhaps you would’ve expected a low-scoring pitcher’s duel, but it was rather an offensive explosion.
Parshall was only able to get through two innings while allowing four runs. Vanessa Oatley came in for the Nittany Lions after two innings and was able to throw 94 pitches in four innings of relief.
Parshall pitched for the Nittany Lions in three consecutive games prior to the opener on Sunday, but head coach Clarisa Crowell stated emphatically that fatigue wasn’t the issue for Parshall.
Parshall would make an appearance late in game two and performed much better, only allowing three base runners and one run in three innings of work.
Penn State found themselves trailing six-one after the third inning, but the offense continued to fight and score three runs in the next two innings, bringing the score within two. Iowa took back control of the game in the sixth inning, scoring two runs while silencing the bats of the Nittany Lions.
Despite the struggles, the Penn State hitters appeared comfortable in the box, consistently working deep counts and putting the ball in play.
“I think they just make good adjustments in the box, when we were getting good barrels to the ball we know we’re able to go up there swinging and execute the plan,” Crowell said.
Unfortunately, some great at-bats were overshadowed by the losses. Emily Maddock contributed three hits, while Kaitlyn Morrison drove in three of Penn State’s four runs.
Kylee Lingenfelter started game two for the Nittany Lions and pitched a solid four innings, allowing four hits and one earned run. The Penn State offense started game two hot, scoring all three of their runs within the first two innings, then were shut out for the remainder of the game. Emily Maddock drove in all three of the Penn State runs.
Denali Loecker entered the game in relief for the Hawkeyes after one-third of an inning and would go on the pitch the remainder of the seven innings. Loecker dealt an impressive performance, pitching six and one-third innings while only allowing six hits and two earned runs while keeping the Nittany Lions scoreless after the second.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the score knotted at three runs, Liana Jones led off with a double. A sacrifice bunt then allowed her to move over to third with one out. The Nittany Lions then followed with two pop-ups, ending the inning.
“We didn’t get the type of hit. we would have loved to have scored that run. We had some other opportunities to score as well.” Crowell said.
Coach Crowell aims to put the tough weekend behind her as the team looks forward.
“We’ve just got to clean some things up on our end, every week is a new week,” Crowell said.
The Nittany Lions are back at Beard Field to start a weekend series against Minnesota on Friday.
Sketch Morton is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email Sam7539@psu.edu.
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